How does your financial services brand match up to others on social media and what main benchmarks should you be focusing on?

Social media has been around for what seems like a lifetime, but how are financial services brands utilising the main platforms? And what could they be doing better?

Before we delve into our benchmarks, here are a couple of headline stats to whet your appetite:

The latter finding isn’t perhaps all that surprising when we look at financial organisations’ social media priorities. The top four topics are: careers, tips, promotions and retirement. (2)

Of course, these figures don’t tell the whole story. There are many FS brands that are extremely responsive on social media platforms and understand the importance of a two-way online conversation.

So how do you measure up?

Here are our seven social media benchmarks FS brands can’t ignore:

1. The average number of social shares per blog post for commercial banking is 143

The insurance sector fares considerably better with an average of 285, and investment management is in the middle of the two with 208. (3)

But what do these figures tell us and why should you care?

Shares are somewhat of a vanity metric when focused on in isolation. It’s generally considered a good thing if people like and trust your content enough to share it with their networks. However, if your end goal is to get people to enquire about a new product, for example, and they are visiting your site and leaving without taking the desired action, no amount of shares will have a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Three quick questions:

  • When was the last time you audited your social shares to uncover what’s working well and what isn’t?
  • Are your posts being viewed and shared by your target audience or by a different group?
  • How do shares of content on a particular product/topic compare with engagement on other channels?

 

2. The average response time to messages on social media is more than nine hours

Financial services companies have a problem when it comes to expectations around response times. A typical customer expects a reply to their social media message within four hours, but on average, FS brands are taking more than nine hours to get in touch. (4)

“A typical customer expects a reply to their social media message within four hours, but on average, FS brands are taking more than nine hours to get back in touch.”

In this digital age where it’s easier than ever to switch banks and insurance providers, FS brands need to be on top of the customer experience at every touchpoint. With customers able to complain in an instant for the whole world to see, the resource needs to be in place to bridge this gap between expectation and reality in order to maintain loyalty and avoid reputational damage.

Three quick questions:

  • Do you know what your average social media response time is?
  • How does your social media response compare with other channels?
  • Is social media a good customer service fit for your brand?

 

3. LinkedIn is the most trusted social platform with a 70% rating

For the past 10 years, financial services companies have been trying to repair the damage caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Rebuilding trust is never an easy task, especially against a backdrop of ‘fake news’ and controversy around user privacy on social media. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, financial services enjoyed an 11% increase in trust ratings between 2012 and 2017. (5)

The Business Insider Intelligence ‘Digital Trust Report’ in June 2017 (5) found that LinkedIn topped the table when it came to being the most trusted platform with the most trusted content. Facebook was the second most trusted platform with a rating of 32%.

While it’s rarely a good idea to put all your social eggs in one basket, if LinkedIn doesn’t currently form an important part of your social strategy, it’s certainly worth reconsidering if you’re looking to increase trust amongst your customers.

Three quick questions:

  • Do you have a specific LinkedIn strategy or a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to social?
  • When was the last time you measured the ROI of the social platforms you’re active on?
  • Have you ever run any paid campaigns on LinkedIn?

 

4. More than 50% of banks are not measuring ROI at all or are measuring it in less than a quarter of their campaigns

These figures cover online advertising in general, of which social media ads form a part. It’s stating the obvious to say that measuring ROI of social media adverts is a fundamental task that all FS marketers should be undertaking. However, that’s clearly not happening in every case.

With more than half of marketers in the sector not tracking returns on their paid social content (6), there’s a real opportunity for those who do to gain a competitive advantage.

With paid-for opportunities on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, measuring ROI is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It needs to be an essential part of everything your organisation does on social media.

Three quick questions:

  • What’s stopping you from measuring your paid-for ROI?
  • Are you starting each new campaign with no data to inform your strategy?
  • How will you know which platform is the most effective to advertise on if you don’t know the ROI over an extended period of time?

 

5. Almost 80% of banks use Facebook to respond to customer comments

Around four-fifths of banks claim to use Facebook as a means to reply to comments left by their customers (6). However, as we mentioned in the introduction, almost 90% of social media messages to brands are ignored.

There are pros and cons to using Facebook in this way. However, banks clearly want to be seen to be responding to the concerns of their customers. The current problem, it seems, is that they are not able to respond to everyone who gets in touch, or reply as quickly as expected, which can then leave customers to choose another channel of communication.

Three quick questions:

  • Do you have the required resource in place to respond to all comments and questions on social media?
  • Is a public platform the best place to encourage your customers to air their comments and complaints?
  • Would it be better to direct all your customers to a communications platform you have complete control over?

 

6. The average conversion rate for Facebooks ads is 9%

A recent study by WordStream uncovered average conversion rates for Facebook ads by industry sector. For finance and insurance, it was 9.09%, slightly behind the overall average of 9.21% across all sectors in the report. (7)

“With more than half of marketers in the sector not tracking returns on their paid social content, there’s a real opportunity for those who do to gain a competitive advantage.”

Interestingly, finance and insurance performs poorly in terms of average click-through rate (CTR) when compared against other industries advertising on Facebook at just 0.56%. The average CTR for all sectors is 0.9%

While these figures relate only to Facebook advertising, and so will generally form just one part of an overall campaign or marketing strategy, they seem to suggest there is work to be done in getting people to engage with financial advertising on the platform. Although, for those that do engage, the subsequent conversion rate is high.

Three quick questions:

  • Are you measuring your conversion rate from Facebook ads and how does it compare with the industry average?
  • How are you using data from previous campaigns to inform future ones?
  • How does your Facebook ads conversion rate compare with other platforms such as LinkedIn?

 

7. Only 4% of your customers will connect with you on Facebook

Research by The Financial Brand examined the leading US financial institutions and found that on average they had one twenty-fifth of their customers (4%) following them on Facebook. (2)

If you don’t know what your percentage is, it will pay to do a quick calculation to gauge if the time spent posting updates on Facebook is the best use of your marketing budget.

It’s worth making the comparison between Facebook and real-life interactions in that any posts by an individual’s bank to calling the customer at home, while they’re busy cooking dinner or putting their children to bed. In other words, even for that 4% figure, you’re not their number one priority when they’re browsing Facebook. And you’d better have a compelling message to merit the interruption.

Three quick questions:

  • Are you using Facebook just because you think you should?
  • How does your Facebook strategy tie into your customer service and marketing objectives?
  • Could your time, effort and budget be better deployed elsewhere?

Summary

Here’s a quick reminder of those 7 benchmarks:

  1. The average number of social shares per blog post for commercial banking is 143
  2. The average response time to messages on social media is more than nine
  3. LinkedIn is the most trusted social platform with a 70% rating
  4. More than 50% of banks are not measuring ROI at all or are measuring it in less than a quarter of their campaigns
  5. Almost 80% of banks use Facebook to respond to customer comments
  6. The average conversion rate for Facebooks ads is 9%
  7. Only 4% of your customers will connect with you on Facebook

 

If there are any of those benchmarks where you feel you’re falling short or not making the most of opportunities for your organisation, get in touch to speak to one of our content strategists.

Jamie Graham - Senior Content Manager Editions Financial

BY Jamie Graham

Jamie has delivered digital marketing campaigns for a number of global brands over the past decade which have included copywriting, SEO, social media management, paid search and content strategy. He has a keen interest in FinTech and has worked for leading banks and investment management companies.